Russian Icon "Baptism of Christ"

(Russia, 19th Century)

Russian Icon "Baptism of Christ"


Russian Icon

The Baptism of Christ
Oil on board, incised gold leaf on the background. Edges decorated with cloisonne enamel. 40” x 28”


This is the one of the most recognizable and frequent images in Christian art. The relative standardization of images of the Baptism results essentially from the brevity of the episode in the canonical Gospels, which would, however, have allowed subtle differences. Matthew, the only evangelist to report the concise dialogue between Jesus and John before the Baptism. According to him, as Jesus emerges from the water after being baptized, the heavens open, and only John - sees the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven is heard: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (3:17). Immediately afterwards, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the dessert. Mark’s narratives are similar to Matthew’s. According to Luke, however, the dove’s appearance and the heavenly voice are directed to Jesus, who is collected in prayer after being baptized:”Thou art my beloved Son, with three I am well pleased” (3:22)
Although, the icon is done in a standard representation of this subject, the figure of John the Baptist is the most prominent due to its larger size, bright green draperies and straight directional line, that goes from the Holy Spirit to the John’s hand. The 2 figures of angels are placed on the left and are symbolizing harmony, although, none of the Gospels mentions them. The background of the icon is covered with a gold leaf, that is very typical for Russian depiction of sacred subject. All elements are depicted according to canon, no apocrypha elements presented.

FRAMED: HEIGHT: 40 in | WIDTH: 28 in
UNFRAMED: HEIGHT: 40 in | WIDTH: 28 in

Origin Russia
Category Oils
Circac. 1890
Period 19th Century
Style Unspecified

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THB REF: 7102449835